A few months ago, Kate and I decided to join forces, and she and her daughter Ryah and me and my son Cian all moved into a duplex in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn together. We are having enough adventures, and people ask us enough questions, that I thought it might be fun to share some of our stories and thinking as we figure out life in this very strange time for the world. I think I am writing this blog as a gesture of affection to my family and friends (to those who were with me on my previous blog about starting Kaan Pete Roi, and are now coming back – almost ten years later! – thank you and welcome back!) The pandemic took a lot from us, and as if that were not enough, I am watching in a sort of shocked horror as the world is starting to burn around us, everywhere we look. It all feels terrible and uncertain. Sometimes, I think that the world will not survive for the next generation, and I feel very strange that we decided to keep making a next generation anyway.
And yet…what else could we have done?! We are here! We have our beautiful children, and we are here with them, and with each other, looking out. There is still glee, dirt smeared in toddler hair, scoops of ice cream, barbequed burgers, sprinklers at the playground. We are here, and there is a lot of joy (and yes, a reasonable measure of exhaustion). So, here we go! I wanted to share some of it. Welcome to our house.
My main cast of characters!
Kate. Kate is my friend, the sister I got to choose, and my fellow Mama bear. She’s also a Research Scientist at Global Ties for Children at NYU, which I also am. I tell people sometimes that it seemed like a good general life rule to see what Kate was doing and kinda just try to do the same thing.
Kate is one of the smartest people I know and my go to for many, many, many things. My wedding took place in the backyard of her previous house. I have asked her more about statistics than anybody should ask probably ask anybody. She whips up a delicious cheesy vegetable pasta and green juice with lots of ginger and texts me from downstairs to remind me to eat it. She has a power drill that will drill into brick if she wants it to, a phenomenon I marveled at as she drilled two pot-hanging devices into a brick wall in our house. She’s kind of a bully, the very best kind, one that turned her bullying tendencies into wonderful, aggressive kindness. We talk about our research and our kids in the same paragraphs, over the same meals. Sometimes I think she’s crazy, and the best thing about our relationship is I can always tell her when I think it. She has figured out almost everything that is making our house work. Including, for instance, getting a picnic table for our backyard and painting it purple.
Me. Hi! I think most of you reading this know me already! In no particular order, I’m Mummy to Cian, Director of Kaan Pete Roi Emotional Support and Suicide Prevention Line, Research Scientist at Global TIES, incredibly proud daughter and sister and wife. There are a few other things I’d still like to be but haven’t quite figured out yet, but stay tuned, I’m just getting started.
Ryah. Kate’s 3-year-old daughter. Ryah is smart, spunky, and rambunctious. She knows what she wants and is ready to get it. She climbs, runs, and falls better than any 3-year-old I have ever seen. Actually, better than most people I’ve seen. Her sense of fashion is impeccable, her hair is amazing, and her smile fills up my heart. Her staying power is incredible. Once that kid digs her heels in, they’re staying in. Can’t wait to see what this looks like when she’s 17, good luck Kate, but it’s interesting enough at 3. She’s big, she’s strong, and you want her on your side (once, we were all at a playground together and some random boy didn’t want to share his toy car with Cian and, like, she didn’t exactly throw the sand IN his face, but she definitely didn’t not throw it in his face). Ryah sticks her hands fearlessly in the finger paint, and it ends up all over her body. Oh and have I mentioned she likes food? She likes food. Lots of food. All kinds of food. Kid sucks on limes, literally.
Cian (pronounce “key-an”). My 3-year-old son. He was supposed to come into the world a month later than Ryah and decided he was going to come a month earlier instead. Cian’s prematurity was a wild ride for me, one I’ll probably write about on here at some point. My little guy is smart, sweet, and sensitive. He’s the most eloquent three-year old I have met, if I am allowed to toot my own kid’s horn, which I am. His vocabulary is stellar, his pronunciation (in English, and when he chooses it, Bangla) is perfect, and his smile fills up my heart. He has a very impressive attention span. Since he was the tiniest of tinies, he would sit through long books with complicated stories, and now he asks thoughtful, intelligent questions about the stories we read, which never ceases to amaze me. He tries to hide behind me if a book is scary, and has the sweetest nature ever, which surprises me sometimes, since both his father and I are often huge grumps. He also has a particular enthusiasm for attempting to use things in ways they are not supposed to be used, and to interpret the word ‘No’ as ‘Try again when no one is looking.’ Cian considers finger paint for a moment, then prefers to experimentally dip a stick in it, then may or may not decide to use that stick to paint. Food, not so much, but Cian is a true Bangali baccha. He wants his bhaat, mach, and bhuna goru mangsho. “Give it to me makhay dibe.”
That’s us! There are more family members, tied to us by marriage, or blood, or choice. They will appear often, and we would be lost without them. But this story here is going to be mostly about the four of us. Well, maybe five, we shall see. But more on #5 later. I hope you enjoy our stories.